1) Strong barely controllable emotion; 2) A strong enthusiasm; 3) A person or thing arousing this.
Witness those who demonstrate true passion for what they do. It is a very different energy from that shown by those who are simply “at work”. In the latter situation, passion and its associated energy is replaced with passive acceptance of the assigned task. It is unfortunate when passion comes from activities outside of work (e.g., personal causes, hobbies) – given the amount of time people spend working.
Learn to diagnose the level of passion in your organization. Passion is a form of energy, and we can pick up so much about the energy “atmosphere” in a company just by paying attention to our feelings as we look about public places like lobbies and reception areas, as well as by observing people’s informal interactions. Contrast in your own mind staid workplaces you have visited with those alive with energy.
Tap into people’s energy potential. Soul-inspiring leaders possess a unique ability to draw out potential from stakeholders, employees and customers alike. This elusive quality distinguishes almost boundless opportunity from the constrained thinking that inhibits people, eliciting only a portion of their energy. It is the difference between being “at work” and “working at” something.
Notice your impact on employees’ souls. Expecting people to speak and behave in hushed tones drains their life force. It crushes spirits and turns human beings into walking automatons. Inviting passion makes people come alive and has them stride about with unbridled energy and purpose. Where would you rather spend the half of your life that you are working?
Encourage passionate performance and be a winning organization. Did you ever notice what happens to organizations that create zeal for their products and services among an intensely loyal following of customers? When this magical mix occurs, financial returns follow and shareholders become passionate advocates for the stock, supporting the company with additional capital flows. The passion is evident to all.
Restore passion alongside the desire for productivity. Organizations can no longer count on productivity alone. If they are to attract and retain talented workers and get the full value of their contribution, they must learn to respect employees’ desire to be passionate about what they do. Otherwise, they risk not being able to attract sufficient qualified talent to survive.
Unlock an “atomic explosion” of energy. Soul-inspiring workplaces consistently operate at peak levels, and they reap the rewards that come with embracing passion. They do not typically pay better or offer extra benefits or more vacation. These workplaces do not buy passion, since it is not for sale – and cannot be bought. Profitability and people practice are in complete alignment.
Realize passion is not simply a series of how-to steps. A key ingredient is a leader’s evident passion for the enormous potential of their organization. It is a feeling that calls forth a genuine emotional response among team members. The actions required to evoke this response must be felt and transmitted to others based on the leader’s commitment to this ideal. It is about personal persuasion.
Avoid manipulation of passion. The outcome of any empty effort will be a cynical and listless workforce devoid of passion, perhaps forever. While a manipulative effort may yield temporary short-term results, people will quickly see through it. When they discover the ruse, their reaction will be swift. Passion is a set of committed ideals put into practice.
Questions For Reflection
How much passion do you feel about your workplace – is it an “atomic explosion” of new ideas, or has your company’s idea reactor been mothballed?
What are you passionate about, and what do you notice about what stokes your passion?
Are you prepared to tolerate a work life that you are not passionate about? What does this imply?